The next trial over a Fosamax femur fracture claim will start in May as part of Multidistrict Litigation in district court in New Jersey. Meantime, the drug’s manufacturer, Merck & Co., has agreed to a proposed $27.7 million to settle ONJ lawsuits filed by plaintiffs who say that the bisphosphonate caused their jaws to deteriorate.
The Fosamax settlement, if approved, would resolve a lot of the more than 5,200 drug injury cases. Fosamax was developed to help treat osteoporosis in women, Paget’s disease, and other bone diseases. Plaintiffs have until the end of March to opt out of the deal, while Merck has until mid-May to decide whether to definitely go ahead with it.
That said, the drugmaker noted that the settlement would not cover the approximately 4,115 femur injury cases that plaintiffs contend were caused from taking Fosamax.
This bisphosphonate is supposed to slow bone loss and up bone density. A lot of postmenopausal women have been prescribed this drug to make their bones stronger and prevent fractures. It is unfortunate then that it has been discovered that long-term use of Fosamax may lead to the debilitating conditions we mentioned above, in addition to Atrial Fibrillation, and Esophageal Cancer.
Fosamax and Femur Fractures
The type of fracture typically associated with Fosamax cuts through the upper thigh even though there has been no trauma. This fracture pattern should only typically happen from a more traumatic situation or to someone who elderly and very frail. However, there are now too many reports of femur fractures appearing in people who have been taking bisphosfononates-Fosamax, in particular-for at least five years.
Fosamax and ONJ
Also called dead jaw, ONJ is a serious bone condition that causes the tissue of the jawbone to deteriorate, in part because of a lack of blood flow. Extended absence of enough blood may cause the jawbone to collapse. Symptoms can include teeth loosening, gum and jaw inflammation, numbness in the gums, more sensitivity in the gums, jaw/gum pain, mouth infections, and receding gum tissue that render the jawbone visible.
Merck has won a couple of cases, lost a couple in the recent Fosamax litigation that have gone to trial. Last year, a federal jury awarded Rhonda E. Scheinberg $285,000 against the company. The 69-year-old woman said the drug caused her to suffer bone disease of the jaw. In one bellwether trial, a jury awarded $8M to Shirley Boles, also for for her ONJ injuries. A judge reduced the award to $1.5 million.
In Massachusetts, please contact our Boston Fosamax lawyers to request your free case consultation. We work with clients throughout the state.